Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Tour of Montrose Gardens

Reaching Montrose Gardens in Hillsborough, North Carolina is a pleasant affair. The scenic road into these nationally-known gardens (now part of The Garden Conservancy) passes by charming caf├ęs, elegant shops and art galleries, not to mention 19th century homes perched majestically on lush green lawns.

The picturesque setting is what one would expect from such a historically important place as Hillsborough. Established in 1754, the town was a hub of political activity during the colonial and revolutionary years. But for garden lovers, it’s probably best known as the home of Montrose Gardens.

I happened to find myself in this lovely spot during a recent Garden Writers Association symposium tour. Unfortunately, I was fighting a cold at the time, and it was the last tour on a chilly autumn day.

It wasn’t until I returned home that I found myself continually thinking of my time at Montrose Gardens. Once I looked over my pictures, I saw why these gardens have won the hearts of so many over the years.

Montrose Garden's famous landscapes originated in the 19th century, when the 61 acre property first belonged to Governor and Mrs. William Alexander Graham.

Nancy Goodwin – a noted plantswoman and author – is most responsible, however, for the national recognition garnered by the gardens.

Goodwin and her husband bought the property in 1977. The couple then greatly expanded the gardens, and began operating the Montrose Nursery on the site in 1984.

Before long, The New York Times called the nursery “one of the best small mail-order sources of rare and unusual plants in the country.”

Montrose Nursery was later closed in 1993, and the house added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

Today, the gardens are open to the public by appointment only. This ensures future generations will have the chance to enjoy these lovely themed gardens for many years to come.

Learn more about Montrose Gardens.


  1. Very nice photos Teresa!

    I bet you had a great time at the symposium.

  2. This is a beautiful post and thank you for showcasing NC in such a grand way. I so much enjoyed my visit with at GWA and wished it could of lasted longer. You are fascinating.

  3. Why, thank you. The symposium was wonderful ... especially meeting all the other garden writers out there, who were so generous with their feedback and time. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thanks "flowergardengirl" - it's not hard to make NC look grand. It's a lovely state. I also enjoyed meeting you, especially walking through the Duke Gardens together. Take good and please keep in touch! Teresa

  5. What a beautiful garden. I really love the idea of hanging an old iron gate as functional art.

  6. Thanks, Red Studio. I appreciate your stopping by.

    The garden had lots of simple beauty, not to mention absolutely lovely garden beds.

  7. Lovely Theresa--a stuffed up head doesn't negate a wonderful eye! Thanks for the great photos.

  8. Thanks, Susan, for your comments. My only regret is that we didn't have more time to tour the gardens...